Constance Chien ’10
Hillary Clinton is known to many as a polarizing housewife character who wishes to capitalize on her husband’s name recognition. Her liberal policies are deemed idealistic. And her relative inexperience is often criticized.
But who is Mrs. Clinton?
To state the utter obvious, Hillary Clinton was not born a Clinton. She was born Hillary Diane Rodham in 1947 in Chicago to a United Methodist family. For college, she went to Wellesley, an all-female liberal arts college. (The motto, incidentally is “Non Ministrari sed Ministrare,” or “not to be ministered unto but to minister.”) She was a member, the president actually, of Wellesley’s Young Republicans chapter. She later quit the organization. Conflicted, she went to a Republican National Convention in 1968. She then made the decision to end her Republican affiliation. She finished her time at Wellesley by graduating with honors in political science, going on to perform a commencement address — the first Wellesley student ever to do this.
Hillary went on to Yale Law School, where she met William Clinton. Other accomplishments she garnered include being a staff attorney for the Children’s Defense Fund, being a consultant for the Carnegie Council on Children, and helping a committee that led to Nixon’s resignation.
When she considered marriage with William (Bill) Clinton, she was actually afraid that her individuality would be blended away. This sentiment is in stark contrast to the way she is viewed today — as someone who wishes to capitalize on someone else’s name recognition.
She did, marry him.
But she did not become a Clinton quite yet. She decided not to change her last name for career reasons.
However, she did begin to be referred to as Hillary Clinton because of the fact that her husband wanted to run for governor of Arkansas, and for some reason, taking her husband’s last name would be good for getting more votes.
And she went through her “First Lady of Arkansas” stage.
Eventually, her husband decided to run for president. And she was a First Lady of many firsts when he was actually elected. She held a postgraduate degree. She actually had had a career. And she would be one of the few First Ladies with an actual role. She had an office in the West Wing. She was not exactly considered to be a demur, passive companion to the President. She was indeed active.
And thus, due to her record, perhaps she isn’t simply a woman who wishes to have an undue advantage due to her husband – she had a political career prior to her White House period, though, admittedly, her last name may become a slight advantage. And she has seen the other side of the political spectrum as well – she was once a Young Republican. And, if elected, she will obviously be the first woman president – the United States is a bit behind on electing female presidents. Perhaps 2008 will be the year.